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Mannone arrival casts doubt on Sunderland’s ability to beat the drop

| 01.07.2013

Paolo Di Canio’s transfer policy could prove costly for Sunderland this season, with his latest move the most baffling to date.

Replacing Simon Mignolet, one of last season’s stand out goalkeepers, with the third in line to the Arsenal number one jersey, Vito Mannone, unquestionably increases the value of the Black Cats’ 6/1 price for relegation to the Championship.

A price in the region of £2m-£3m has been agreed for the Italian stopper – a good chunk of the reported figure they’re guaranteed to receive from Liverpool for Mignolet’s reliable services.

With Keiren Westwood the only other senior keeper on their books at current, it appears as though the duo will duke it out for the starting berth next season. However, 28-year-old Westwood was not granted a solitary second of Premier League playing time last term owing to the excellent form of the outbound Belgian net minder.

Thrusting Mignolet’s Irish understudy into the fray is, therefore, an obvious weakening of a team that could consider themselves extremely fortunate not to have been relegated last season.

Mannone’s credentials to prosper in the Sunderland net to the extent his predeceases
or did are severely undermined by the fact he is considered inferior to both Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski at Arsenal; hardly a glowing reference.

Similarly, some decent loan stints at Hull fail to quantify granting him the chance to keep goal in the top flight, especially at a side with so much to lose next term.

The Wearsiders have already drafted in four players without an ounce of Premier League experience between them, with French full back Benjamin Mendy set to make it an interesting, unproven quintet.

While there is every chance these players will flourish under Di Canio’s stewardship, solely focussing on the cheaper, foreign markets presents an undoubted risk and even though Mannone at least offers something in terms of familiarity with life amongst the elite of England, it is fair to argue that his signing represents the riskiest of them all.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date



James Middleton